Please join Security in Context with the OU African Studies Institute and the OU Center for Peace and Development for "Undue Process: Persecution and Punishment in Autocratic Courts in Africa." This event is a talk with Dr. Fiona Shen-Bayh, Assistant Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

WHEN: Thursday, November 9th, 3-4:30 PM CST

WHERE: Zarrow Hall 145 and via Zoom - CLICK HERE to register

For accommodation on the basis of disability, contact

Event Description:

Why do autocrats hold political trials when outcomes are presumed known from the start? Dr. Fiona Shen-Bayh's book Undue Process (Cambridge University Press, 2022) examines how autocrats weaponize the judiciary to stay in control. In this talk, Shen-Bayh argues that contrary to conventional wisdom that courts constrain arbitrary power, judicial processes can instead be used to legitimize dictatorship and dissuade dissent when power is contested. Focusing on sbu-Saharan African since independence, she draws on fine-grained archival data on regime threats and state repression to explain why political trials are often political purges in disguise, providing legal cover for the persecution of regime rivals. Finally, she reveals how courts can be used to repress political challengers, institutionalize punishment, and undermine the rule of law.

Article or Event LinkUndue Process Poster PDF
Nov 1, 2023
Public Policy


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